February 1, 2012
Electronic images are available upon request.
Tickets ($19-$45) may be purchased at the Box Office at Theater Square, online at www.trustarts.org, or by calling (412) 456-6666. First Commonwealth is the proud season sponsor of Pittsburgh Dance Council, and 90.5 Essential Public Radio is the media sponsor.
Armitage Gone! Dance was created in 2005 upon Karole Armitage’s return from her 15-year stay in Europe. The company endorses innovation and is dedicated to refining the boundaries and perceptions of contemporary dance. Extending on classical and modern styles from the Balanchine and Cunningham tradition, Armitage permeates experimental thinking into the geometric balance, speed, rhythm and beauty of dance steps. Armitage derives inspiration from sources such as Japanese aesthetics, pop culture and new media, physics, fashion, and from her dancers of distinct cultural and dance backgrounds. Armitage Gone! Dance is noted for its collaborations with creators in the visual arts, science, and music, including artists Jeff Koons and David Salle, as well as string-theory physicist Brian Greene.
Three Theories (2010) is an evening-length work, inspired by renowned physicist Brian Greene’s best-selling book, The Elegant Universe. The performance itself is enriched with scientific discoveries and divided into three distinct sections – each defined by its own dance structure and musical language. Three Theories is performed by Leonides Arpon, Kristina Bethel-Blunt, Megumi Eda, William Isaac, Luke Manley, Bennyroyce Royon, Abbey Roesner, Marlon Taylor-Wiles, Emily Wagner, Mei-hua Wang, and Masayo Yamaguchi.
The series choreography begins with a prelude inspired by the Big Bang Theory, set to an excerpt from Chatham’s Two Gongs. The first section, titled Relativity, derives from Einstein’s hypothesis that gravity is the warping of the space-time fabric. Armitage advances her analysis of bending and twisting the horizontal and vertical lines of classical ballet in this dance. Relativity is a soothing dance, echoing Einstein’s recognition of the universe as a place of central order.
The second section, Quantum, is charged by Quantum Mechanics’ explanation of the volatility of the universe on the particle, or micro, level. As a result, Armitage created four ambiguous, rapid, off-kilter duets, set to Chatham’s driving initial score for 100 massed guitars precisely tuned to produce micro-tones. The choreographic structure for this section is inspired by Quantum Mechanics’ inception of “sum-over-paths,” which derives from a single dance phrase that is manipulated in a variation of ways.
The last section, String, draws from the string theory, which presumes that the fundamental matter of the universe is essentially a microscopic vibrating string, in which its vibrations are caused by the volume of the folded, intricate geometry surrounding it. “Legs twang like twisted arrows; hips pivot; feet slap sporadically on the floor…Armitage’s choreography is constantly morphing and moving into another mood, another feel (Dance Europe).”
Artistic director Karole Armitage, also known as the “punk ballerina,” began her professional career in 1973 as a member of the Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève, Switzerland. The company was devoted to the works of George Balanchine, which stems the majority of Armitage’s inspiration. In 1976, Armitage’s career blossomed with leading roles in Merce Cunningham’s landmark works. She stayed with Cunningham for five years, and since then – through her unique knowledge of the aesthetic values of Balanchine and Cunningham – Armitage has created her own place in the modern world of dance. In 1978, Armitage created her first piece, followed by her iconic Drastic-Classicism in 1981.
Karole Armitage has won several awards in various countries for her outstanding work, including the Grand Prix Roscigno Danza, Officier dans L’ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Chevalier dans L’ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and the Guggenheim Fellowship for Choreography. Her unique style has set her apart from others. “The ‘Armitage style’ is distinguished by its virtuosity and its urgency. She pushes the frontiers that traditionally separate dance, theater, music, and visual arts (Arte Magazine).”
Each year the Pittsburgh Dance Council, a division of The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, showcases a world-class season of dance. As the largest presenter of international performances in the city, the Dance Council continues to help make our Cultural District one of the country’s leading arts and entertainment centers.
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